01/22/2007 12:00AM

Liquor Cabinet headed to New Orleans


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The Saints are out, but the fastest horse in the East is in. Liquor Cabinet's nine-length win in last Saturday's Grade 3 Aqueduct Handicap earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 112, the top figure in the nation early in 2007.

Shortly after the breakthrough performance, trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. mentioned the Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park handicaps as possible next starts. But upon further reflection, the New Orleans Handicap at the Fair Grounds on March 10 has been chosen as the next scheduled start for Liquor Cabinet, a late-blooming son of Hennessy.

The Grade 2, $500,000 New Orleans Handicap is run at 1 1/8 miles. Dutrow ran a then-unheralded Saint Liam in the 2004 New Orleans Cap, and he was second, beaten in a photo by Peace Rules.

"That was a really tough field," Dutrow recalled. "We were coming out of a three-other-than allowance, and we were 5-1 or 6-1 in the program. I'm feeling a lot more confident now. I don't know what's going to the New Orleans, but I know we are."

Liquor Cabinet is a lightly raced 6-year-old who had started just 11 times heading into the Aqueduct Cap, his first graded stakes win. Coming off a layoff of nearly eight months opening day of the winter meet, he suffered a minor foot injury winning a third-level allowance in his first start for Dutrow, and was listed as racing with an aluminum pad in the Aqueduct.

"The last time he messed his frog up," Dutrow said. "It's getting better."

Paumonok coming up short

A short field is expected for Saturday's $65,000 Paumonok Handicap at six furlongs.

The speedy Bishop Court Hill, who springboarded off a win in last year's Paumonok to upset the Grade 1 Carter Handicap two starts later, prepared for a defense of his title by working a half-mile in 49.24 seconds over Belmont Park's training track on Sunday. The move was the fastest of 44 works at the distance over a dull surface.

Expected to face Bishop Court Hill in the Paumonok are Attila's Storm, Maddy's Lion, and Super Fuse. Possible starters include Forest Park and Wild Jam.

On Monday, Attila's Storm worked a half-mile at Belmont in 48.84 seconds, the third fastest of 35 workers at the distance.

No Hollie Hughes defense for 'Daddy'

Big Apple Daddy, who won the Hollie Hughes last winter before running a close third in the Carter, worked three furlongs in 36.04 last Saturday, his first work since finishing second in the John Morrissey Stakes at Saratoga last August.

Big Apple Daddy won't make the Hollie Hughes on Feb. 18, but trainer Bruce Levine is looking to have him ready in early spring.

"Speed's so good on the inner track, and he doesn't have it," said Levine. "He gets ready fast. I'd look to run him once in March, and then take a shot in the Carter if it's not too tough."

Softer spot for Who What Win

Who What Win, who was wisely scratched from the Aqueduct Handicap by trainer John Terranova, looks like the one to beat in Wednesday's eighth race, a $46,000 first-level allowance at a mile and 70 yards.

"Numbers don't lie - that turned out to be a tough one," said Terranova of the Aqueduct Cap. "This is a much better spot."

The New York-bred Who What Win has never been worse than second from eight starts on fast tracks, and has been in sharp form in two starts since returning from a layoff. He won a second-level allowance first time out in nearly six months, and subsequently ran second in the Alex M. Robb Handicap behind multiple stakes winner Naughty New Yorker.

"He just loves the game," said Terranova. "He worked really well [Sunday]."

Other contenders include Chief Speed, a three-time winner on the inner track; Pulpiteer, freshened since a maiden win in mid-November; and the Gary Contessa- trained entry of Star of Trieste and Three in the Bag.